Thursday, January 09, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #9: You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld is the kind of cartoonist even the literati like, particularly since his work is usually about literature (high or low, in one way or another). He's committed graphic novel with the Jason-esque Goliath, and has also cartooned a lot for The Guardian newspaper, providing them with a weekly cartoon.

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack collects more than 150 of those cartoons, which are funny and smart and sneaky, each one typically constructing a collision of high and low culture for the amusement of all of us who get the references. (Bronte Sisters: The Videogame! Samuel Beckett's Adventures of Tintin! Professor Ian Rigby: Academic Stunt Driver! The Realist Novel and the Experimental Novel! Lost in Venice: a Game for 2-4 Players! Feminist Fairy Godmother! Various Scenes Involving Pudding!)

OK, so not every cartoon specifically does the high-low thing -- many of them shove together two elements of low culture, or high culture, or things that aren't precisely culture, even -- like that pudding example. But they're sly and intellectual in the best way, taking standard ideas and the canon of Great Literature (among many other things) and standing them up sideways in the hall so Gauld can toss cream pies at them.

Best of all, Gauld manages to not condescend to any of that -- not low culture, not even the pudding. The title cartoon after all, is about the cultural sneer towards SF, and provides a great new explanation for that sneer. It's the one I'm going to assume is true from now on, certainly.

If I haven't convinced you yet, check out Gauld's Tumblr, which features many cartoons from this book, among other work. And then go buy You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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